Sisters and Brothers,
A Blessed New Year to everyone!
Thanks be to God. We have, by grace, made it through another year. For my family, it has been full of occasions for thanksgiving – safe travels, successful major surgery, healing from pain and illness, job promotions or transitions, new births, reunions, academic successes to name some of our blessings.
Not everyone can start their list with pleasant memories, for some are still reeling from the pain of bereavement and loss of different sorts. But hopefully we pray that with time, brighter scenes will colour their memories.
The truth is that in our life together, we have had varied experiences through which we were reminded of God’s abundant love and faithfulness. With these in review, we need not despair, even when difficulties arise. Let us resolve to find God’s very present strength in every trouble we endure. Let us set our minds on affirming, like the psalmist, that while weeping may linger for the night, joy comes in the morning. (Ps. 30: 5b).
Let us never forget that where we are weak, God is strong, always outmatching the power of evil. So then, if we resolve to work with and for God, under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we are already set to win in 2020. God never fails. The Lord may be full of surprises, yes; always doing a new thing, often something contrary to our expectations, but always a winning thing! Faithfulness to God’s call comes with its our promise of victory. The shape of the victory we will experience is God’s to determine. His is the promise of a hopeful future.
Let us find encouragement in the words of the hymnist Frances Ridley Havergal:
Standing at the portal of the opening year
Words of comfort meet us, hushing every fear,
Spoken through the silence by our Father’s voice,
Tender, strong and faithful, making us rejoice.
Onward, then, and fear no, children of the day!
For his word shall never, never pass away!
I, the Lord, am with you; do not be afraid!
I will help and strengthen; do not be dismayed.
Yea, I will uphold you with my own right hand;
You are called and chosen in my sight to stand.
For the year before us, O what rich supplies!
For the poor and needy living streams shall rise;
For the sad and sinful shall his grace abound,
For the faint and feeble perfect strength be found.
He will never fail us; he will not forsake
his eternal covenant he will never break!
Resting on his promise, what have we to fear?
God is all-sufficient for the coming year.
Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879)
From everlasting to everlasting, and especially in 2020, God is with us.
May the Lord’s name be praised in our life- our being, sayings and doings- this year
Yours in God’s service,
Joan Delsol Meade